Think of Houston, and you may imagine a towering skyline rising over a sprawling metropolis or the Mission Control Center at NASA. For those unfamiliar with Texas, it can come as a surprise that the city known for its influence in energy and aeronautics is also a major hub for the arts. Houston’s cultural scene includes a thriving Theater District and Museum District. The centrally located Washington Avenue Arts District boasts over 300 artist studios in half a square mile, believed to be the highest concentration of working creatives in the United States.
This robust arts community was our next destination on the Monogram Modern Home Tour. We showcased the prefab at Silver Street Studios as part of the Houston Antiques + Art + Design Show, which expanded to include pieces from the 20th century this year. Set in an industrial setting against urban wall murals and silos-turned-artist-studios, the Monogram Modern Home found itself in conversation with Houston’s contemporary scene as well as the evolution of design through time.
In Houston, the Monogram Modern Home took on midwestern and southern influences. Local designer Shane Cook dressed the 600-square-foot space in muted tones of gray and beige with light blue accents. A proponent of using art to characterize a home, he used pieces by area artists in a homage to the city’s creative community. Tour chef Jon Liddell conducted live product demonstrations in the kitchen, whipping up dishes with local flavor. A crowd favorite was Liddell’s caramelized bacon, which combined maple syrup, brown sugar, and cayenne pepper for a dose of southern sweetness and Texas heat. In addition, open house visitors had the chance to interact with Monogram’s luxury appliances in a natural home setting. Ranging from the French door wall oven to the outdoor cooking center, the featured products showcased the ingenuity and innovation of Monogram’s designs and how they complemented the modern home.
The tour held special interest for trade professionals as well. Greg Finnicum of Monogram and Michele Gerus of Dwell hosted a series of continuing education units (CEUs) that addressed advancements in kitchen technology, the role of social media in business, and the Dwell Insights Group's new findings on "New Affluents." Gerus also hosted the event’s crowning panel, "Conscious Development: The Creation of the Washington Avenue Arts District." Panelists chef Monica Pope of Sparrow Houston, Jon Deal of The Deal Company, and Pat Brewer of Pat Brewer Interior Designs tracked the rise of the Washington Avenue Arts District and the principles of good design.
"Good design is sensitive to its social and physical surroundings," said Gerus during the panel. "Dwell’s success lies in helping communities develop design principles and transforming lives, which is exactly what the Washington Avenue Arts District accomplishes." Pope explained that the resources invested in the area attracted art, music, food, and entertainment—creative industries that drive both culture and economy. "What is really successful about the Washington Avenue Arts District, or any business, is its ability to get the synergy and density of people," she said.
A champion of adaptive reuse, sustainability, and local revitalization, the Washington Arts District shared many of Dwell’s design tenets and provided the perfect context for the Monogram Modern Home Tour. For our next destination, we’re heading south—follow the journey through #monogrammodern, and learn more about our upcoming stops in Atlanta, Georgia, and Miami, Florida, by clicking here.
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